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Friday, November 21, 2014



Thursday, November 20, 2014

Obama Actions Help Some CT Immigrants, But Not Others

By Ann Radalet

Washington – President Obama’s controversial move announced tonight to stop the deportation of millions of immigrants will help thousands of undocumented people living and working in Connecticut, but bypasses thousands of others.

The president said his use of executive action to change immigration regulations would help as many as 5 million migrants. The number of immigrants that would be helped in Connecticut is difficult to determine.

Connecticut has a diverse immigrant community with peoples from South America, Mexico, Central America, the Caribbean, Asia, Europe and Africa. Many are here legally, but an estimated 55,000 to 100,000 are undocumented.

Of those undocumented, the largest group that will be helped belong to “mixed families,” where some members are citizens or legal residents and others are not.

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Posted 10:16 PM
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Malloy’s Emergency Budget Cuts Fall on Social Services, Education

By Keith M. Phaneuf and Jacqueline Rabe Thomas

Gov. Dannel P. Malloy today ordered almost $48 million in emergency budget cuts, imposing the deepest cuts on social services, education and culture and tourism promotion.

The cuts, which do not require legislative approval, whittle the nearly $100 million deficit Malloy projected last week down to $52 million.

The governor also asked the Legislative and Judicial branches, whose budgets he cannot reduce unilaterally, to accept another $6.9 million in cuts. If granted, those potential reductions, along with $66,000 in reductions volunteered by the state’s watchdog agencies—which also are exempted from mandatory rescissions—would lower the deficit to $45 million.

And while the remaining shortfall represents only one-quarter of 1 percent of the state’s general fund – which covers the bulk of operating costs in this year’s overall $19 billion state budget, the potential for more red ink remains.

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Posted 05:46 PM
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Despite GOP Opposition, Senate Confirms New CT Judge

By Ann Radalet

Washington – New Haven Corporation Counsel Victor Allen Bolden was confirmed by the U.S. Senate today to a federal judgeship in Connecticut on a narrow 49-46 vote. Image
Victor Bolden: former ACLU lawyer. New Haven Independent photo

All Senate Republicans opposed the nomination of Bolden, 49, who has served as an attorney for the NAACP Legal Defense Fund and as a lawyer for the American Civil Liberties Union.

Four moderate Democrats also voted “no” on the nomination. They were Sens. Martin Heinrich of New Mexico, Heidi Heitcamp of North Dakota, Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Jon Tester of Montana.

Bolden’s nomination to the U.S. District Court for the District of Connecticut had been controversial since it was considered by the Senate Judiciary Committee in September. All eight Republican members of the committee voted against Bolden’s nomination, all 10 Democrats on the panel, including Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., voted for it.

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Posted 04:37 PM
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Monday, November 17, 2014

Pelosi Skips Himes, Naming New Mexico Democrat as DCCC Head

By Ann Radalet

Washington – In a surprise move, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi today chose New Mexico Democrat Ben Ray Lujan to head the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, overlooking a handful of Democrats, including Rep. Jim Himes, D-4th District, who had been considered for the job.

Lujan, 42, would replace Rep. Steve Israel, D-N.Y., who said he did not want another term as chairman.

“Proud to announce next @DCCC Chair will be Ben Ray Lujan, whose vision, energy & leadership will bring House Dems to victory in 2016,” Pelosi tweeted today.

Pelosi also indicated Rep. Rosa DeLauro, D-3rd District, will keep her position as co-chairman of the House Democratic Steering Committee, which, among other things, decides committee assignments for Democratic members.

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Posted 06:12 PM
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Friday, November 14, 2014

It’s official: CT’s Budget is $89M to $100M in the Red

By Keith M. Phaneuf

UPDATE The state budget received its first official deficit reports today when nonpartisan legislative analysts and Gov. Dannel P. Malloy’s administration projected shortfalls ranging from $89 million to just under $100 million.

And while the administration issued the larger of the two deficit forecasts—$99.5 million—budget director Benjamin Barnes, insisted it quickly would be closed, and reasserted Malloy’s insistence that tax hikes are not an option.

“This is consistent with what the administration has been saying,” Barnes said, “that no matter what the projections are, we will manage and administer the budget so that there will be no deficit. It is important to remember that this is a prediction of what would happen now and in the future should we do nothing—and doing nothing is not an option.”

More than half of the deficits projected both by the governor’s staff and by the legislature’s nonpartisan Office of Fiscal Analysis stems from declining revenues, particularly involving receipts from Indian casinos and federal grants.

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Posted 04:38 PM
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Thursday, November 13, 2014

Malloy to Order Emergency Cuts, Hiring Freeze

By Keith M. Phaneuf

To reverse an impending state budget deficit, Gov. Dannel P. Malloy’s administration has told agencies it will order emergency spending cuts and freeze all-but-critical hiring to offset an impending budget deficit.

The move prompted concerns today from both private- and public-sector unions that this would stymie Malloy’s big initiative to expand Department of Transportation professional staff and, in turn, to launch more highway, bridge and rail construction work.

In a memo sent late Wednesday to all agency heads, the governor’s budget director, Office of Policy and Management Secretary Benjamin Barnes also reinforced existing caps on overtime work.

Current budget trends, including both shrinking revenues and cost-overruns in various agencies “will ... result in a general fund deficit if management actions are not taken right away,” Barnes wrote.

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Posted 06:44 PM
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Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Town Clerk: Westport’s Voter Turnout Highest in County Image
Among those enjoying themselves today at a League of Women Voters of Westport post-election luncheon were (l-r) Town Clerk Patricia Strauss, Selectman Helen Garten, First Selectman Jim Marpe, and Board of Assessment Appeals member Elaine Arnow. Strauss told the guests that Westport’s almost 62 percent voter turnout was the highest in Fairfield County and thanked the League for its voters’ guide. “It is so important to the residents of Westport,” she said. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Phyllis Groner for

Posted 03:23 PM
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LWV of Westport Post-Election Lunch

Scenes from today’s League of Women Voters of Westport post-election lunch held at the home of Hope and Alvin Hageman. Phyllis Groner for

Posted 03:20 PM
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Monday, November 10, 2014

CT Budget Again Faces Red Ink

By Keith M. Phaneuf

Despite a small bump upward in state tax receipts, new cracks in state finances surfaced today that could contribute to a budget deficit forecast by week’s end.

A joint report by nonpartisan analysts and by Gov. Dannel P. Malloy’s administration projects total state revenues will fall about $59 million below the level built into this year’s budget, less than 1 percent of the general fund. Projected losses in federal grants and gaming revenues more than offset about $10 million in growth in this year’s tax receipts.

That modest decline in revenues follows last week’s warning by nonpartisan analysts of larger concerns on the spending side of the budget, involving more than $80 million in potential cost-overruns.

And while today’s consensus report from the legislature’s Office of Fiscal Analysis and the administration’s Office of Policy and Management increased expectations for tax receipts slightly this year, it lowered them by $52 million in the next budget, where a large deficit already exists. The latest numbers push the projected deficit for 2015-16 beyond $1.42 billion.

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Posted 07:13 PM
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Thursday, November 06, 2014

Klarides Elected as First Woman to Lead State House GOP

By Mark Pazniokas

UPDATE Democrats and Republicans in the General Assembly held their traditional post-election caucuses today, selecting new Democratic leadership in the Senate and new Republican minority leaders in both chambers.

Rep. Themis Klarides, R-Derby, was elected House minority leader, becoming the first woman to lead the GOP in the House. She was chosen by acclamation after a rival, Rep. Jason Perillo, R-Shelton, withdrew.

The new Senate leaders will be: Sen. Martin M. Looney, D-New Haven, president pro tem; Sen. Bob Duff, D-Norwalk, majority leader; and Sen. Len Fasano, R-North Haven, minority leader.

House Speaker J. Brendan Sharkey, D-Hamden, House Majority Leader Joseph Aresimowicz, D-Berlin, will retain their posts.

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Posted 04:52 PM
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Wednesday, November 05, 2014

Counting, Confirming Westport’s Votes Took Time

By James Lomuscio

An increase in Election Day Registrations (EDRs), candidates that ran on two lines, absentee ballots, and human error in the form of numerical typos made ballot counters and Westport Town Clerk Patricia Strauss work until 5:30 a.m. today, Strauss said. Image
A voter—one of 96—taking part Tuesday in Election Day Registration (EDR) casts her ballot in the Westport Town Hall auditorium. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for

“Westport never finishes before midnight,” Straus said, particularly when it comes to major races.

With 61.6 percent of the town’s 16,191 registered electorate turning out to cast ballots for the gubernatorial race, there was a more than 7 percent jump in votes to count from the 2010 gubernatorial race.

“We had all our numbers in by 2 a.m., and I had auditors here who wanted to keep on going,” said Strauss.

More "Counting, Confirming Westport’s Votes Took Time"

Posted 06:11 PM
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This Time, Malloy Wins With a Majority

By Mark Pazniokas

Republican Tom Foley today called Gov. Dannel P. Malloy to concede defeat in Connecticut’s race for governor—about 12 hours after the first-term Democrat incumbent declared victory. Image
Gov. Dannel P. Malloy meets the press after Tom Foley concedes. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) photo

“He called me around 12:30 to say he had kicked the numbers around, and it was apparent I had won,” Malloy said in a post-election press conference at the State Capitol.

Secretary of the State Denise Merrill said the entire Democrat ticket of statewide officers won re-election, all with sufficient victory margins to avoid a recount: Malloy, Lt. Gov. Nancy Wyman, Attorney General George Jepsen, Comptroller Kevin Lembo, Treasurer Denise Nappier and Merrill.

Malloy beat Foley, 547,273 to 519,925, giving him a plurality of 27,348 votes, quadruple his 6,404-vote victory in 2010. Petitioning candidate Joe Visconti, who suspended his campaign and endorsed Foley two days before the election, had 11,295 votes, about one percent.

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Posted 04:30 PM
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Connecticut One of Few Remaining ‘True Blue’ States

By Ann Radalet

Washington -– What do Connecticut and Hawaii have in common?

They are among only a handful of states that still have a Democratic governor and totally Democratic congressional delegation after a Republican tsunami washed over the nation on Election Day.

The only other true-blue states now are Delaware and Hawaii. (Vermont’s gubernatorial race is still up in the air.) Maryland, the Old Line State, could not hold the line against the Republican tide; and Massachusetts, for long considered a liberal Democratic bastion, also elected a Republican governor.

The Republican gains were mainly attributed to the nation’s dissatisfaction with the Obama administration. But what does Connecticut’s loyalty to the Democratic Party mean in a political world where Republicans have control on Capitol Hill and veto power in many state houses?

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Posted 04:15 PM
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Foley Emails Supporters He Has Lost

Republican Tom Foley told supporters in an email today that he has lost the race for Connecticut governor to incumbent Dannel P. Malloy.

He said that they came close but did not succeed in their effort to unseat the Democrat.

With 97 percent of precincts reporting at mid-day today, Malloy is leading with 51 percent of the vote, compared to 48 percent for Foley.

Foley said his campaign fared better in cities than he did in 2010 when he first lost to Malloy, but lost ground elsewhere because of what he called “relentless negative advertising.”

Posted 01:36 PM
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Connecticut Voters Defeat Early Voting Measure

By Ann Radalet

Connecticut voters have rejected an amendment to the state’s constitution giving the General Assembly power to consider allowing early and expanded absentee voting. Image

The effort to let Connecticut join 34 other states that offer early voting was defeated in a 53-47 percent vote, unofficial results from the Secretary of the State show. [Westport voted no on the constitutional amendment 3,481 to 3,365 or 51 to 49 percent.]

The question posed to voters on the ballot Tuesday was: “Shall the Constitution of the State be amended to remove restrictions concerning absentee ballots and to permit a person to vote without appearing at a polling place on the day of an election?”

Gov. Dannel P. Malloy and Secretary of the State Denise Merrill, both Democrats, supported the amendment. But Republicans like gubernatorial candidate Tom Foley urged people to vote “no.”

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Posted 11:10 AM
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